Approximately half of the Earth’s population menstruates. Talking about this menstruation, however, seems to still be a challenge for many people. Why is this the case?
There are few products that are stolen and snuck between friends and classmates as often as tampons and pads. As if they were indecent or forbidden. If a tampon accidentally rolls out of a backpack onto the classroom floor, it sits there like it is highly explosive, and is either ignored with blushing faces or treated with disgusted fascination and uncomfortable giggling.
No, we have not learned to deal with menstruation in a calm and collected way, much less to be proud of it.
Instead, we talk about ominous “times of the month,” rag week, visits from our Auntie Flo or the foreboding “crimson tide.” We are talking about 40 to 50 milliliters of fluid per cycle: That is less than would fill a regular espresso cup. Maybe the crimson tide refers to the folktale from the east coast of the red sea, where the earth was said to materialize out of the menstruation blood of a female dragon. Legend tells of the dragon and creator Tiamat, who gave birth to the universe, the earth and the ocean. This region is still known today as Tihama, after this magnificent lady dragon.
Creative Power and Rewards for Heroines
This story about the creative power of menstruation blood is not far from the truth. A large portion of the fluid is made up of regenerative uterine lining that is full of nutrients. Vitamins, protein, calcium, sodium, iron—it’s all there. Everything an embryo needs to grow. The cradle of life, so to say. And not the “shark week,” as it is so fondly called by some. Menstruation has nothing to do with massacre, and sharks are not especially drawn to menstruating women. It is only through ignoring the pain that many feel during menstruation that some may feel they’ve been a part of a metaphorical shark attack.
Maybe instead we should reward our heroines of these „days of the month,” as cartoonist Gemma Correll suggests: for the most impressive chin pimple, the most dramatic uncontrollable weeping at the sight of a puppy, the most beautiful breasts. Or for the fact that the menstruating person still accomplish lots, despite the sometimes very intense physical and emotional toil they go through.
Not everyone feels this pain. For many, these days are just like any others. An active interaction with the menstrual cycle and the adaptation of normal routines to these hormonal phases can certainly help to alleviate cramps. And the estrogen high can be consciously used for creative projects, decision making, and communication challenges. Menstruation is also a good opportunity to serve yourself an extra portion of self-care and time to do nothing.
In any case: “Anything you can do, I can do bleeding.”